Today in History

Today is Thursday, April 2, the 92nd day of 2015. There are 273 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 2, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, because of advancing Union forces.

On this date:

In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition landed in present-day Florida. (Some historians say the landing actually occurred the next day, on April 3.)

In 1792, Congress passed the Coinage Act, which authorized establishment of the U.S. Mint.

In 1800, Ludwig van Beethoven premiered his Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21, in Vienna.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” (Congress declared war four days later.)

In 1932, aviator Charles A. Lindbergh and John F. Condon went to a cemetery in The Bronx, New York, where Condon turned over $50,000 to a man in exchange for Lindbergh’s kidnapped son. (The child, who was not returned, was found dead the following month.)

In 1942, Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded “American Patrol” at the RCA Victor studios in Hollywood.

In 1956, the soap operas “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night” premiered on CBS-TV.

In 1968, the science-fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, had its world premiere in Washington D.C.

In 1974, French President Georges Pompidou, 62, died in Paris.

In 1982, several thousand troops from Argentina seized the disputed Falkland Islands, located in the south Atlantic, from Britain. (Britain seized the islands back the following June.)

In 1986, four American passengers were killed when a bomb exploded aboard a TWA jetliner en route from Rome to Athens, Greece.

In 1995, baseball owners accepted the players’ union offer to play without a contract, ending the longest and costliest strike in the history of professional sports.

Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II, who’d helped topple communism in Europe and left a deeply conservative stamp on the church that he’d led for 26 years, died in his Vatican apartment at age 84. Terri Schiavo’s body was cremated as disagreements continued between her husband and her parents, who were unable to have their own independent expert observe her autopsy. An Australian helicopter on a relief mission in Indonesia crashed on earthquake-devastated Nias Island, killing nine people on board.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama, visiting a factory in Charlotte, North Carolina, hailed a new government report showing the most jobs created in nearly three years, saying, “We are beginning to turn the corner.” Gunmen seeking to pass themselves off as U.S. and Iraqi soldiers raided a Sunni village outside Baghdad, killing at least 24 people in an execution-style attack. Ohio State junior swingman Evan Turner was the runaway choice as The Associated Press’ college basketball player of the year; Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim was the AP’s college basketball coach of the year.

One year ago: The Supreme Court’s conservative majority voted 5-4 to free wealthy individuals to donate to as many political candidates and campaigns as they wanted, further loosening the reins on giving by big contributors. At Fort Hood in Texas, three soldiers were killed and 16 others were wounded in a shooting rampage by another soldier, Army Spc. Ivan A. Lopez, who then killed himself.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Rita Gam is 88. Actress Sharon Acker is 80. Actress Penelope Keith is 75. Singer Leon Russell is 73. Jazz musician Larry Coryell is 72. Actress Linda Hunt is 70. Singer Emmylou Harris is 68. Social critic and author Camille Paglia is 68. Actress Pamela Reed is 66. Rock musician Dave Robinson (The Cars) is 62. Country singer Buddy Jewell is 54. Actor Christopher Meloni is 54. Singer Keren Woodward (Bananarama) is 54. Country singer Billy Dean is 53. Actor Clark Gregg is 53. Actress Jana Marie Hupp is 51. Rock musician Greg Camp is 48. Rock musician Tony Fredianelli (Third Eye Blind) is 46. Actress Roselyn Sanchez is 42. Country singer Jill King is 40. Actor Pedro Pascal (TV: “Game of Thrones”) is 40. Actor Adam Rodriguez is 40. Actor Jeremy Garrett is 39. Actor Michael Fassbender is 38. Actress Jaime Ray Newman is 37. Rock musician Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5) is 36. Actress Bethany Joy Lenz is 34. Singer Lee Dewyze (TV: “American Idol”) is 29. Actor Jesse Plemons is 27. Singer Aaron Kelly (TV: “American Idol”) is 22.

Thought for Today: “Never think you’ve seen the last of anything.” – Eudora Welty, American author (1909-2001).

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